Costa Rica Players Could Turn World Cup Success Into Lucrative Premier League Moves
After beating Italy at the World Cup on Friday night, Costa Rica's players "stayed locked in their dressing room at Recife's Arena Pernambuco for 45 minutes," according to Ian Ladyman of the London DAILY MAIL. Victory "had placed them in the second phase of the World Cup with a game to spare, but time still had to be found for prayer." When they finally emerged, it "was to the realisation that -- for some -- lives had changed forever." As assistant coach and former Man City and Derby County striker Paulo Wanchope explained afterwards, "many of these players will not fully understand what they have achieved until these finals are over." Against England this week in Belo Horizonte, however, Wanchope "does expect the team's star players to understand they are doing more than appearing in a relatively dead rubber at the World Cup." They are "auditioning" for Premier League contracts. Wanchope: "It's a big surprise for the world. I understand that. The reality is that nobody in the world expected Costa Rica to go through in this group. But now for sure I know a few of the players will want to do well against England and end up in the Premier League. This is their chance" (DAILY MAIL, 6/21). In Madrid, Aritz Gabilondo reported Costa Rica's performance in the World Cup, which includes wins over Uruguay and Italy, "acquires another dimension when its roster is analyzed and compared" to other World Cup teams and participating players. Transfermarkt calculates that the total value of every player on Costa Rica's roster is €29.6M ($40.3M). This is less than several players alone, including Spain's Andres Iniesta €55M ($75M), Brazil's Neymar €60M ($82M), Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo €100M ($136M) and Argentina's Lionel Messi €120M ($163M). Only Honduras, Iran and Australia have rosters with lower values, according to Transfermarkt (AS, 6/22).
COSTA RICA UPSET WITH FIFA: In London, David Hytner reported the Costa Rican Football Federation "are furious" at FIFA for "ordering seven of their team’s players to undergo drug tests in the aftermath of the famous World Cup win over Italy." Diego Maradona has accused world football’s governing body of "discriminating against Costa Rica." Costa Rica Manager Jorge Luis Pinto "has made public his displeasure at the abnormal procedure." FIFA said that the mass procedure was necessary "because some of the Costa Rica players had been unavailable for the mandatory pre-tournament tests." But "there is indignation within the Costa Rican setup." Pinto: “The question in all of this is: ‘Why does Costa Rica receive these tests?’ It’s because Costa Rica is running and running and running, and I congratulate my players for that. They can do doping tests to all of us, including me." Maradona: “Why test seven players from Costa Rica and not seven from Italy? It's against the rules" (GUARDIAN, 6/21).